Fishing opportunities abound in West Virginia

Reed Hellman

Mid-Atlantic anglers find West Virginia to be the wilderness nearby. Called the “Mountain State,” West Virginia offers more than 20,000 miles of streams and more than 100 public fishing lakes. From family vacations to expeditions through isolated backcountry, the state has a venue and experience for freshwater anglers of all ages and skill levels.

West Virginia offers year-round fishing, including an open-season for trout, catch-and-release and fly-fishing-only streams, shoreline fishing, boat launching, and facilities for physically challenged people throughout the state. Species include native brook trout in headwater streams in the Monongahela National Forest and rainbow trout in more than 120 stocked streams. The public fishing lakes hold stocked populations of good-sized rainbows, browns, brookies, and West Virginia golden rainbows. Smallmouth bass stalk the larger rivers, and anglers also take native and stocked trophy muskies, many over 40 inches.

As a part of West Virginia’s “panhandle,” Hardy County serves as an entry point to the mountain waters that help make the state’s reputation as a prime angling destination.

The South Branch of the Potomac River, home to fiercely fighting smallmouths, flows through the county in a fertile valley several miles wide. The river’s South Fork also provides excellent fishing, as does the Lost River and Cacapon.

The Lost River quite literally disappears underground, only to reappear as the Cacapon. To either side of “the Valley,” rugged mountains with plenty of timber foster numerous other streams and small water.

Thousands of years ago, the South Branch gouged a passage through the mountains, from end to end rather than across the range. This narrow, 7-mile gorge, called “The Trough,” has rock walls several hundred feet high. Transiting The Trough can be an exciting adventure in itself.

Many of West Virginia’s state and federal parks, forests, and wildlife management areas are located on lakes, rivers, and streams. That wide variety of venues and species makes Hardy County and the rest of the Mountain State an ideal location for freshwater fishing.

For more information about fishing in West Virginia, call 800-CALL-WVA or visit

Harman’s Cabins

Harman’s Luxury Log Cabins offers nightly log cabin rentals with nearly 2 miles of trophy trout fishing at your doorstep. All fishing is strictly catch and release and fly fishing is encouraged.

Harman’s offers a full-service fly shop on-site, along with professional guide service with advance reservations.

Located on the banks of the North Fork River in the heart of the Seneca Rocks/Spruce Knob National Recreation Area and adjacent to Dolly Sods Wilderness Area and the Monongahela National Forest, Harman’s is the outdoor enthusiast’s dream, especially for fly fishing, hiking, birding, and weekend getaways.

To plan your stay, visit or call 800-436-6254.

More Fishing:

County of Bath, Virginia

Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia

Chesapeake, Virginia

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

Summersville Lake, West Virgnia

Waynesboro, Virginia

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